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Pekin Company Sets Gold Standard for Diagnosing COVID

In less than two years, a business in Pekin has grown from a histology lab with 10 employees to a full-service laboratory company with about 250 employees. This has been possible because of the entrepreneurial vision of Reditus Laboratories CEO Dr. Aaron Rossi. But Rossi gives credit to his employees.

“It boils down to the people you have around you, providing quality results and not just quantity,” Rossi said. He and his father, Dr. Lawrence J. Rossi, Jr., who is Reditus president, opened the business in June 2019 as a histology lab for podiatrists. Histology is the study of the microscopic structure of tissues.

“There was a need to rapidly diagnose soft tissue and wound infections,” Lawrence Rossi recalled.

To do so quickly and accurately, Reditus acquired its first real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) machine in February 2020.

Reditus became a full-service dermatopathology lab, with a heavy focus on molecular diagnostics. Meanwhile, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) had entered Illinois.

Setting the Bar for Diagnosing COVID-19

PCR is the gold standard for diagnosing COVID. Within four weeks, Aaron Rossi created a business plan, validated the assay and received approval to begin processing COVID samples in April 2020.

“Being able to provide the community with the gold standard, the most accurate PCR test, in a rapid fashion was a tremendous accomplishment,” Rossi said.

Because he was on the ground floor, Rossi established relationships with businesses that supply the equipment and attracted talent, including Dr. Joshua J. Geltz, a virologist, who became the Reditus laboratory chief. He had been the chief virologist for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Laboratory in Springfield.

“I saw an opportunity to expand testing and more directly impact patient care through development of new assays with more effective processes than available at other laboratories,” Geltz said.

Business Expands Dramatically

Today, Reditus has grown to 250 employees. Because of growing test volume and in anticipation of future growth, Reditus increased the size of its lab to 23,000 square feet in March to accommodate more testing equipment.

Reditus receives nasal specimens for testing from a variety of clients, including from Illinois Department of Corrections for employees and offenders, from IDPH, and from a variety of businesses, colleges, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, film production companies and community-based testing sites. Reditus also facilitates COVID specimen collection throughout the state, not only for the Department of Corrections but for Smithfield Foods and at community-based testing sites, including in McLean County.

Fun Facts

· Eighty-nine percent of test results are reported within 24 hours.

· At its maximum capacity, Reditus can run 20,000 tests per day.

· As of April 1, 2021, 2.1 million COVID tests had been performed by Reditus.

Perfect Score

Even with the staggering numbers, Reditus has remained focused on quality. Reditus is certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program and, in early 2021, achieved accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program is a rigorous accreditation process certifying that Reditus meets standards in areas such as laboratory safety, procedures, training, documentation and personnel qualifications. Reditus met all the standards with a perfect score.

Coming Up

Next, Reditus will debut a FluV19 At-Home Collection Kit in which customers will be able to collect their own nasal specimen from the comfort of home and overnight the sample to Reditus. Reditus will test the sample for Influenza A and B as well as COVID-19. Results will be available to the customer 24 to 48 hours after the lab receives the specimen.

As the COVID-19 pandemic lessens, Reditus plans to use its expertise and new equipment to expand testing into other specialties, such as Microbiology, Serology, Clinical Chemistries and Hematology.

“My goal when opening Reditus Laboratories was to become one of the nation’s top clinical diagnostic laboratories,” Rossi said. “We have been able to accomplish this even during a pandemic, which speaks volumes to the quality and dedication of our staff, who ensure that the patient always comes first.”

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